Is Espresso Stronger than Coffee?


For many people, the best and perhaps the only way to begin the day is with a fresh cup of espresso. Espresso has the ability to get the heart pumping making sure that you begin the day with a jolt. Now, if you’ve never had a cup of espresso before, or if coffee has only passed through your lips a couple of times in your life, you might already be wondering how strong espresso really is. Is espresso stronger than coffee? Here’s what you need to know about this high-octane fuel.

What is Espresso?

If you don’t already know, espresso is coffee. It is not a brand of coffee nor is it a certain type. Espresso is a certain method of preparing coffee. If you don’t know how espresso is prepared, you might at least know what a coffee maker is.

A coffee maker is a machine that you use to brew coffee. The way it works is that you place a certain amount of ground coffee beans into the coffee maker’s strainer. You then place water into the coffee maker. After switching the device on, you’ll see drops of coffee begin to pour into the coffee maker container, also called the decanter.

If brewing is a certain way to make coffee, then espresso is another. Both coffee-making methods are similar in a sense that hot water is added to ground coffee beans. The difference lies in the method of adding hot water.

In brewing coffee, the coffee maker pours hot water naturally on the ground coffee beans. In making coffee using the espresso method, the espresso machine forces pressurized water onto the ground coffee beans.

The end result of brewing coffee and making an espresso is also different. In brewed coffee, it is normal to use up to about a liter of water for every cup of or so of ground coffee. In an espresso, only about a shot glass of water is used, which is why an espresso is actually highly concentrated coffee.

Why is an Espresso Stronger?

Because an espresso is highly concentrated, it may have the appearance of being stronger than regular coffee. An espresso may definitely be a bit more bitter than brewed coffee, but the true strength of coffee is not in the way it is made, but in the way it is roasted.

Before coffee beans reach your home, they are first roasted by a roasting company, which is usually the brand of the coffee. Most coffee roasters will roast coffee in three different levels:

  • Light Roast
  • Medium Roast
  • Dark Roast

To achieve a light roast, the coffee beans are usually roasted at a temperature of 196 to 205 degrees Celsius.

Medium roast coffee beans are roasted at 210 to 219 degrees Celsius.

Dark roast coffee beans are roasted at 225 to 230 degrees Celsius.

In general, the more the coffee beans are roasted, the more flavorful they become. As such, dark roast coffee beans are said to be the strongest type of coffee.

Now, by taking grounded, dark roast coffee beans and making an espresso out of them, you’ll certainly get coffee that is quite a lot stronger than your regular brewed coffee.

Is Espresso Stronger Than Coffee Because of More Caffeine?

When you taste bitter coffee, such as an espresso, one of the first things that may come into your thoughts is that the drink definitely has more caffeine. The more bitter the coffee, the more caffeine it has. Or has it?

A lot of people believe that the caffeine contents of coffee increase the longer it is roasted. As such, dark roast coffee beans have the most caffeine. Unfortunately, this is a myth.

In reality, the more the coffee beans are roasted, the lesser the caffeine content. Caffeine actually dissipates during the roasting process.

If dark roast coffee beans have less caffeine, then it is the light roast coffee beans you should be worried about if you’re concerned about the caffeine content of your coffee.

Arabic vs Robusta

The caffeine content of coffee doesn’t just depend on the way the beans were roasted. In fact, caffeine content lies in the type of beans. There are two major types of coffee beans in the world: Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica coffee beans are usually grown at high altitudes and are more popular than Robusta. Arabica beans are also more expensive than Robusta because they are more difficult to cultivate and harvest. As you know, the more difficult it is to produce a product, the more expensive the product becomes.

Robusta coffee beans are much cheaper than Arabica, but they also have a sort of burnt taste when roasted. Additionally, Robusta coffee beans also have a higher content of caffeine than Arabica coffee.

Is Espresso for You?

Now that you know almost everything there is to know about espresso, the next question is, is espresso for you? First, coffee is an acquired taste. Nobody likes food or a drink with a bitter taste, except for coffee. In fact, most people don’t even like coffee the first time they taste it. However, when they experience the kick after their first cup, they become addicted.

If you’ve never had coffee before and you’re wondering if espresso is for you, then the only way to really know is to try a cup of espresso. After your first cup, you’ll know if you’ll become a coffee fan or not.

However, you should know that espresso is definitely bitter. If you don’t think you can manage the bitterness of the coffee, have the barista add a little milk and turn it into a macchiato or a cappuccino. If the drink is still a bit too bitter for your first try, consider adding sugar to ease the taste a bit.

It’s at this point where coffee lovers are made. Once they’ve become accustomed to the bitter taste, they begin yearning for more. They’ll first remove the sugar, then the cream and then the milk, until finally they are left with pure espresso.

So, back to your original question, is espresso stronger than coffee? Espresso definitely has a stronger taste because it is concentrated coffee. But what you should really be asking yourself is if espresso is for you. If it’s your first time to try an espresso, don’t worry if the bitterness of the coffee turns you off a bit. In time, you will begin to love the beverage, even up to the point where you can’t think of how you’ll manage a day without it.

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